Got Debt? The Money Professors

Got Debt? So Does Everyone Around You

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Debt is one of the most stressful and difficult parts of personal finance. Many people find themselves so deep in debt that they can’t see a way out. When you have just a little bit of debt and you want to get out, all you need is a little focus and a little patience and before you know it you’ll be free and clear. Obviously the more debt you have, the longer it will take to overcome your debt, but it can be done. The thing is if you have debt, you are not alone!

Here Are Some Numbers About Debt

  • Households with a credit card carry an average balance of $15,700
  • Credit card debt is almost $900 billion
  • Auto loan debt is $1.01 trillion
  • U.S. consumer debt is more than $3.3 trillion
  • Average mortgage debt is more than $156,000
  • U.S mortgage debt is a total of $13.5 trillion
  • The average student loan debt is $28,400
  • Total student loan debt is $1.2 trillion

So what does this tell us? We are not alone if we are in debt. However, we are certainly not living like the wealthy do. Okay, that is obvious, but I mean our money mentality is different than that of the wealthy. Studies indicate that wealthy people watch less TV and read more books, they know their credit score, and they believe that wealth comes from hard work and not just luck.

Basically, the wealthy pay attention to their finances. They pay attention to their credit score, and they were given some early financial advice from their families as well.

By paying attention to their money, they are making it a priority in their life. That doesn’t mean it is their #1 priority ahead of family, friends or worship. It just means that it is something that is important to them because they understand that wealth, security, and even responsible money habits take some effort so the topic must remain in focus.

What is your attitude about money and success? Is your situation a result of your previous actions or primarily due to circumstances outside of your control? What can you do about your situation?

Print this out and fill it in with your answers, or write down your answers somewhere – or better yet – leave a comment on the post. As others see that they are not alone in their struggle with debt – they will feel more empowered to do something about it. It’s the reason Weight Watchers™ works so well for many people. It’s about the support and accountability – and not feeling ashamed of their situation, but about feeling positive because they are taking action:

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This post was adapted from The Money Professor’s Turning Your Debt into Dollars e-Workbook.

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Bill Pratt

Bill is an Assistant Professor of Business at Piedmont Virginia Community College. He speaks on topics related to personal finance on college campuses across the country and is the author of multiple books on personal finance. He left the financial industry to focus on helping people become personally and financially successful. He lives in Charlottesville, VA with his wife and their three pets.

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